Don’t hit nurses

People should not think that it’s ok to hit anyone, especially nurses. Even if you’re mentally crazy or angry or whatever you’re feeling, it doesn’t give you the right to hit nurses. Violence is not ok and should not be tolerated. Hospital administrations should support nurses and those closest to the patients.

Top 5 Posts in 2014

Happy New Year’s!

I can’t believe that it’s been 2 years since I became a nurse. I remember 2 years ago, I was looking for a nursing job, and it was so difficult as a new graduate nurse. Nearly every posting I saw, it stated, “2 years of experience, preferred.” But at that time, I thought, how can I possibly get those 2 years experience if no one gives me a chance?

Somehow, I got lucky. Relatively, it’s been a relatively smooth career. I would say that NYU nurses work are all over NYC and wherever they decide to go (back home to their home state — New Jersey, Michigan, Texas, California, Oregon, etc) or they’ve gone back for their Master’s (I personally don’t know anyone who’s gone back for a doctorate degree yet).

By June this year, it’ll be the first time I renew my license. I’ll let you know how that goes.

In 2014, there has been more readers than ever — so thank you for reading my blog! Here are the top 5 posts in 2014.

5. SBAR – How to Give a Good Report

4. Is NYU Nursing worth it? How I paid off my loan

3. Med-Surg to ICU Interview Questions

2. NYU Nursing Accelerated 15-Month Program FAQs

1. How to Get a New Grad Nursing Job in NYC

For those looking for their first nursing job — my take on it is that any nursing experience is better than waiting around for the ‘ideal’ experience. Just keep in mind what you really want (where in nursing do you want to end up?) and keep heading in that direction. Opportunities open up for those who are ready and looking for them.

This year, I want to go over one evidence-based practice each month. Unfortunately, the conversion rate from science to real practice takes an average of 10 years (WHAT??). The goal is to reduce this rate and start practicing new findings sooner in practice.

For the last 2 months, I’ve been studying for the CCRN, which is a certificate offered by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) that reflects the dedication you exemplify as you provide direct bedside care to acutely and critically ill adults. It can be taken by those who’ve practiced in critical care for 1750 hours within the last year. I’ve definitely learned a lot from it, especially things that I don’t use as often. It’s been great to incorporate what I’ve learned from there into practice.

2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 34,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 13 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Flu season is back

You either get the flu shot or you don’t. If you decide not to, you must sign a waiver and then wear a mask at all times once you’ve stepped inside the hospital… At least until the flu season is over, usually sometime in the beginning of April.

This requirement is so serious that if you didn’t comply, you’d end up with leave without pay and eventually fired within a week. So hop to it!

Most people don’t want to get the flu shot because they feel more tired and ill afterwards. They fear getting the flu from the flu shot. But people are much more likely to get the flu from the community than from the flu shot.

Some have an egg allergy, or a family history of Gullian Barre. In this case, definitely don’t get it. Or if you’re body is immunocompromised from another disease. Then adding a dead strain of the flu to your body is probably not a good idea.

Anyhow, wearing a mask all the time isn’t so bad. In fact, in Taiwan majority of hospital workers wear masks, partially due to the H1N1 and SARS virus that broke out a few years ago. The only annoying thing about it is if you wear glasses, it sometimes fogs up the glass or if you have an allergy to the mask material and you break out from it.

I never got the flu shot prior to 5 years ago. I was at Employee Health to get cleared to volunteer at a Cancer Center. The nurse asked if I got the flu shot. I said no and I didn’t want it.

What she said next changed my life. She said,

It’s not just about protecting you; it’s about protecting others.

Cancer patients are definitely immunocompromised. The radiation and chemotherapy is killing off good and bad cells, unfortunately. If I got the flu, my body may be able to fight it off easily but if I cough on someone else (by accident of course), it’d be much easier for them to get the flu.

That day I didn’t get the flu shot because I had a certain pride of never getting the flu shot.

2 days later I got the flu shot. I didn’t want to be that agent to pass on the flu.

For my boyfriend, I encourage him to get the flu shot. Last year we were at a Breast Cancer event in October in Providence, Rhode Island. There, Walgreens was offering free flu shots. So he got one.

This year I encouraged him to get the flu shot again. He didn’t want to because it’s an out of pocket expense. However, at his work they were doing an experiment on ways to encourage people to get the flu shot. They offered it for free. So he got one.

Cost and fear of getting the flu are the 2 major barriers for not getting the flu shot. Protecting yourself and others are my reasons for getting it.

What’s your reason for getting it or not getting it? Comment below!

NYC Marathon Volunteer


The 2014 NYC Marathon
Medical volunteer
For the first time
At mile 15
In Queens

Keep those cramps and aches at bay…
PT to the rescue!
Massage, massage
Ice, ice
In 3, 2, 1
Off you go

Don’t drink too much water otherwise
You’ll get hyponatremia
Eat some salt!
Drink Gatorade to replace electrolytes!

Vaseline for chaffed thighs

Tylenol 650, not Advil
And only once
red dot
drink it down
Off you go again

Too cold
Warm up
Sit in the warm ambulance
Keep going!

New bandaid

Ankle hurts
Wrap, wrap

And of course,
Scan in, scan out,
The fastest documenting ever

Inspirations abound
Spirits high

Let’s go!!


How I Studied for the GRE

GRETo be perfectly honest, I really didn’t want to take the GRE. I am not one of those people who love standardized tests. But after speaking to one of my good friends, I was decided to take the exam. Although there are plenty of graduate nursing programs that do not require the GRE, there are schools that require the GRE.  To reach the highest academic level of nursing (PhD, DNP), majority of programs require the GRE.

I did well! Here are the tools I used to study at home and at my own pace.

1. Magoosh GRE 

I highly recommend using Magoosh, especially since the entire study program is online. There are detailed videos on how to answer math, verbal, and the writing section. There are over 1000 questions ranging from easy, medium, hard and very hard. The format and types of questions is nearly the same as the actual GRE so you’ll get plenty of practice from day one. And yes, you do get use a onscreen calculator, a pencil and scratch paper for the real exam.

They also have apps for the iPhone and Android so you can practice vocabulary on the go and watch videos!

2. 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems

5lb book of GRE practice problemsThere is a verbal and a math diagnostic test to take to find out your weaknesses. Then I did every third question in the math to get through the book thoroughly. While it’s huge, I highly recommend getting the paperback copy.

3. Manhattan Prep: Reading Comprehension & Essays GRE Strategy Guide

51r7AA89kUL._SL160_This is great for reading comprehension and especially the writing portion. There are 2 sections: one is creating an argument and the other is to take apart an argument. This text is great with the general topics to break down. The GRE actually has every possible topic that could show up on the exam on its own website. The Magoosh blog has shortened the list to something much more manageable that you should practice brainstorming prior to the exam. Personally, I bought the kindle version and thought that it did the job.

I spent about 2 months studying while working full time. If you’re thinking about taking the GRE, go for it!! Let me know if you’re planning on taking it or need any help.

Also, this is my first time linking products from Amazon. If you enjoy reading my blog, at no cost to you, it’d be great if you could buy anything from Amazon through my link. I’d earn a small commission and really appreciate your help! Thanks.

Compassion Fatigue and what you can do about it

compassion fatigueToday I went to a journal club meeting on compassion fatigue. What does compassion fatigue even mean? Why is it important? And how can we combat it?

First let us define a few words.
Passion means an intense emotion.
Compassion means you’re intensely aware of others’ suffering and you have the desire to do something about it.
Sympathy is when you feel sorry for others.
Empathy is when experience others’ pain.

As a nurse, you probably will feel all of these emotions for your patients. You understand the patients’ suffering and you’re willing to do something about it. You feel sympathy for these patients. In fact, your entire unit probably feels sympathy. And your goal is to alleviate suffering.

However, empathy can be emotionally taxing and draining. You have to be careful not to be too empathetic for each patient  as doing so will drain your emotional capacity.

But what happens when there’s too much compassion? What is the opposite of compassion?

Indifference. You stop caring. It’s too much and you’re not satisfied.

What does this look like?

People may lash out at others. Others isolate themselves. People will often call out sick because they feel overloaded. They feel scared that they will make a mistake that could cost them their license or worse, a patient’s life. Nurses will feel burnout and eventually drop out of nursing. That is not good for the profession.

What can you do to combat compassion fatigue?

1. Set small and obtainable goals (SMART goals).

This applies to any setting, but especially in the critical care setting where there are chronic patients and dying patients who may make little difference everyday (either positively or negatively). The goal may not be curative but rather for comfort. If the patient is in pain, your goal could be to provide comfort.

Sometimes family members will have unreasonable goals for their loved ones because they are unfamiliar or are in denial of the serious condition. They may think that their loved one is going to go home being the same way they were before arriving at the hospital. In this case, your goal could be to alleviate the family’s fears and to be honest with the patients’ condition.

Setting your own small and measurable goals for the patient for those 12 hour shifts will allow you to feel good about the care you give.

2. Taking care of yourself.

The stability of your personal relationships at home will affect how you handle yourself at work. If you’re stable and confident with yourself, you will come away believing in yourself that you’re doing the best you can. Having enough time for yourself is crucial. Exercise, eat healthy, and building a positive network.

3. Work as a team.

Lastly, remember that you’re working as a team and not in isolation. Your coworkers also feel compassion for you and your patients. The more senior coworkers may have had experiences similar to the one you’re currently dealing with and can suggest goals for you.

Giving the same good, evidenced based nursing care for each patient is something my unit does consistently, no matter what condition the patients are in. In some cases, the patients get better. In other cases, patients get worse or stay chronically ill. By treating everyone in the same way, we feel that the patients’ destiny is not in our hands, but is determined by something higher up.